At the beginning of the week, I had originally planned to go to Newbury as Fivethousandtoone was heading there, but after a change of plan I am now heading to Ripon as that’s where King Power racing have their best chances. It will mean a nice early start and a three hour plus car journey, but hopefully it will be all worthwhile. Anyway, it’s somewhat of the calm before the storm ahead of next week’s Ebor meeting at York. I’ve got some nice chances up there with both Winter Power and Bangkok likely to be heading there. The meeting is sold out for all four days so the atmosphere will be amazing. More immediately, I’ve got four nice rides to look forward to at Ripon…
GIORGIO VASARI 3.10pm
My first ride of the afternoon is aboard an ex-Aidan O’Brien-trained inmate called Giorgio Vasari who is now trained by Derek Shaw. He beat only one home on his debut for his new yard at Chelmsford last month and hopefully the first-time visor will help him a little. He did win a couple for his previous connections last summer so hopefully the change of scenery will spark a revival of form. This does look a tall order though with the likes of Citron Major and Ghathanfar looking two obvious threats.
LAMPANG 3.45pm (Great St Wilfrid Handicap)
The reason I’m heading to Ripon is to ride King Power’s Lampang in the feature race of the meeting. I switched to ride him last minute at Goodwood when Chil Chil came out of the Stewards’ Cup because of the going. He actually ran really well considering he gave away so much ground at the start and he has some nice runs under his belt this season so far. He is drawn low and only time will tell whether that’s the place to be, but its normally preferable to be on one of the wings. His trainer Tim Easterby saddles five others in the race including last year’s winner Staxton who looks a danger again.
RAINS OF CASTAMERE 4.20pm
I team up with Mick Channon in the one mile handicap to ride Rains Of Castamere. I won on him at Pontefract back in April and he went in again last time at Haydock. The big question is whether he can defy the weight hike as he’s 12lbs higher than when I last sat on him. However, he does look to be improving and everything looks set for another decent run.
If I am to ride a winner on the day, then it is likely to be Myristica (pictured below) who takes on five others in the 10 furlong handicap. She won nicely over the course and distance earlier in the month and gave me a lovely feel that day. Life will be a little tougher off a 7lbs higher mark, but she must have a good chance of going in again. Ideally she would like a decent gallop as she can be a bit keen, but we will go on if needed.